Jamie Who is a blog about everything. Except current affairs. And politics. Also science, sport, religion, celebrities, movies, media and marketing, technology, business and design. So...basically Jamie Who is a blog about food. All things food.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Curry. In a hurry.

Do you like what I did with the headline there? It's funny...because it rhymes.

Anyway, let's get to it. You know the old Wellington Fruit Growers Market in town? No? It's the old building forming a corridor from Longmarket all the way to Darling Street. Well, it seems the team behind Jewel of India at The Waterfront have turned the space into a quasi-Indian foodmarket. As well as Indian food there is an Istanbul stand as well as a little China Town. So whether it's falafals or Szechwan noodles you're looking for, you're in luck.

The decor sounds pretty awesome too. Cobble-stone walkways, hanging buckets alongside chandeliers, wooden screens, carved doors and granite tables. You place your order at a central counter before collecting your food from your chosen stall. With prices for MAIN dishes ranging from R20 - R30, this place seems like the best value for money in Cape Town.

It is open from 11am to 9-30pm and can be found at The Wellington. If you can't find it just get close, get out your car and follow the smell of the spices. I am super-excited about this one and can't wait to check it out.

Jamie Who

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ginja - jury still out

The amazing thing about this place is the way it seems to have been flying under the radar lately. With Eat Out Top 10 appearances in 2005 and 2007, Ginja has since gone very quiet. On Saturday night I went to see why.

Firstly, entering the place is pretty cool. There is something that adds to the expectation of the meal when you have to squeeze into a hole in the wall and slide down a tight alley to get into the front door. There is no over-the-top signage, or bright lights. In fact, the whole thing is quite understated. This is not the case with the menu, as dishes jump off the page with some of the boldest flavour combinations I have ever seen. Maybe it is just the way the dishes are listed on the menu (each dish is basically a long list of ingredients and cooking techniques with no punctuation or real description) but you definitely get the feeling that boundaries are being pushed here. And hard.

I won't take you through everything but the pick of the table's starters was a gorgonzola and pear risotto. For mains, I was stoked to see rabbit. I absolutely love it and you can't seem to find it anywhere lately. Here, it was served as a ravioli with butternut gnocchi and a mustard sauce and was brilliant. It was clean, light and fresh. I have only ever had it as a hearty ragout so this was an amazing change-up. Another showstopper was the rump steak dusted in ground porcini mushrooms. The chef came to the table to explain the new cooking technique he was trying out. He cooks the meat at a very low temperature for several hours. This isn't what you would normally assocaite with rump steak but the end result was awesome. Desserts were a mixed bag. After seeing a white-and-dark-chocolate brownie on the menu there was a moment's panic when I thought a fight was going to break out between us and the table next-door as we both asked the waitor to keep the last one for us. Kindly, the other couple said we could have it which to be honest I wish they hadn't. A tiny portion was plated alongside some hideous ice-cream. It was rock-hard and tasted like feet. Luckily for me my dessert was a triumph. A deconstructed apple pie with beautifully balanced flavours and presentation that showed equal amounts of playfullness and talent. One of the better desserts I have had.

All in all I find it difficult to pass a final judgement on Ginja. There are some touches of pure genius (beetroot and basil bread when you arrive), but also some really disappointing aspects (like the wine list. R225 for Beyerskloof Pinotage?!! And that's the cheapest bottle of red wine on the menu.) Maybe its just the standard of the competition, but after visiting I'm not surprised that they have slipped out of the Top 10. You almost get the feeling they are trying too hard. That said, the menu is too exciting and too unusual for me not to go back. Let's hope they can regain past glory.

Jamie Who

Friday, June 26, 2009

Taste Magazine brings out Taste Cookbook - stoked

If you're a food nerd like me you would have noticed the beautiful Taste magazine that Woolworths brings out. The magazine is an awesome balance of recipe ideas and advice, new happenings in the SA food scene and absolutely stunning photography. I'm not the only one who thinks so and the mag was recently named "Magazine of The Year" at SA's Advantage Admark Awards.

So, you can imagine how stoked I was when the team decided to bring out the Taste Cookbook, which has brought together hand-picked recipes from the magazine's three editors. The book is split into three sections as a result, with the recipes being an extension of the editors' personalities, food philosphies and style.

"Smart and sassy" is Abigail Donnelly's section. Think of this as the funky, edgier part of the book. These recipes are head-turners. If they were a person they would be chilling in Kloof Street's Vida, checking out A-Store and wearing skinny jeans. She has taken common ingredients and given them unique twists and tweaks and the food is extraordinary. My favourite was the beef and strawberry carpaccio.

Maranda Engelbrecht's "gourmet glamour" chapter showcases food as an art. She takes ingredients and dresses them up to create unbelievable dishes. I would say these are a bit more advanced, but even if you don't feel like cooking them (which is a pity) you can't help but wonder at the way everything is presented. Her food is the girl who puts on an expensive dress and goes dancing. The standout meal for me here was the lobster salad with rooibos, gooseberry and wasabi butter.

"Everyday easy" is Phillippa Cheifitz's chapter and is a bit simpler. The dishes are clean and unpretentious and the flavour combinations are a bit more traditional. I absolutely love the vibe she has gone for though. Sometimes keeping things simple is actually difficult and she has adopted the philosophy of taking away an ingredient to add to the dish. (Did that make sense? Am I getting a bit too deep here?) Anyhoo...her cooking is the girl next door. The beautiful girl in a pair of jeans drinking a bottle of beer in a pub. Favourite recipe? There are lots but probably the chilli-garlic linguine with seared tuna.

So, how much for this bad boy? R300. For me, it is definitely worthwhile, as it saves me the mission of paging through old magazines to try and find a recipe that I remembered. Check it out if you have time. If you don't dig it it will make a red-hot gift for someone who does.
Jamie Who

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Herbed blinis with smoked trout, caperberries and a poached egg

A blini is basically a fancy word for a pancake. I use oats and fat-free cottage cheese to make mine so they are healthy and a nice little alternative to toast in the morning. Generally I go for the sweet vibe with fruit, honey and yoghurt but this morning I knocked up a savoury version. Was it any good? It was bloody fantastic.

You'll see I've used trout. I love it - it is cheaper than salmon and the flavour is just as good. Try it next time as a substitute.

Okay, stuff you'll need to make about 8 - 10 blinis:

  • A cup of oats
  • A few lemons
  • Half a cup of fat-free cottage cheese
  • A handful of parsley, roughly chopped and extra to garnish
  • A few caperberries (optional)
  • About 200 of smoked trout, torn into ribbons
  • One egg
  • About 3 tablespoons of milk

Okay, what to do:

1. In a blender, combine the oats, cottage cheese, parsley, egg and milk and blend until smooth. Add some more milk if you need to.

2. Pour some oil in a pan and rub with kitchen paper. Slowly add some of the blini mix and cook over a medium heat for about two minutes on each side. (When you see the blini mixture forming bubbles in the pan, it is time to flip it). Cook two or three at a time, remove and keep arm.

3. Meanwhile, poach some eggs working on 1 per person. What you want to do here is in a deep pot bring water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add a shot of vinegar (any vinegar, except balsamic!) and crack the eggs into cups before gently lowering them into the water. Cook them for three minutes for soft eggs.

4. To serve, place a blini in the middle of a plate. Twist some salmon ribbons to give some height and layer them on the blini. Place a secons blini on the salmon and then drape some salmon over the top. Add a poached egg and garnish with some parsley and the caperberries. To finish it off, squeeze some lemon juice over the dish.

This is, visually, an absolute cracker. It will impress anyone it's super-healthy and it is not really too complicated. Don't forget to season generously with salt and cracked black pepper. If you want to be really shmancy some lemon zest would be a nice touch for presentation. Also, if its the right occasion, I would not be shy to wash this down with a little bubbly.


Jamie Who

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Quarter - a breath of fresh air

Bruce Robertson loves pushing the envelope. With a long list of achievements, including Chef of The Year at The Wine Awards 2004, consistent Eat Out Top 10 restaurants of the year appearances (2003-2008) and being chosen to feature in Conde Nast's Top 100 international Hot Spots in 2007 and 2008 he is without doubt one of the country's best chefs. What makes his food so special though, what makes it stand apart, is the sense of humour that it displays.

The unfortunate recent closing of The Showroom has allowed Robertson to concentrate on other projects - one of them being the awesome concept of dressing up one of South Africa's most authentic dishes...the bunny chow. With custom-baked bread, The Quarter offers a wide range of fillings including mutton, venison and goat. There is a vegetarian option as well as more exotic items such as oxtail and crayfish. The quarters are priced at around R45. 

Having been blown away by his creations in the past - most recently his coca-cola basted ribs at The Taste Food Festival - I cannot wait to try this place. You can find it at 44 Long Street. 

Jamie Who

Jamie Who

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lamb-knuckle, apricot and quinoa curry

I've told you folks before about quinoa - the miracle South American grain. It has such a high protein count (12%-15%) that alone it is considered a complete food. Throw in high fiber, low fat and calories and loads of vitamins and you've got yourself a winner. It's also pretty cool to say out loud. It is pronounced "keen-wa", which sounds like a Hawaii surf instructor. 

Throwing it into a stew or a soup is a perfect way of cooking it and last night with the weather being so sh*t, and the favourite sister visiting, I decided to try and use it in a curry to be a bit different. 

What you want to do is pour it in towards the end of cooking and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until it has soaked up some sauce and the grains have plumped up a bit. 

Okay, stuff you'll need to feed 4 people:
  • About 850g of lamb-knuckle
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml of chicken stock
  • 250g of dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • one onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed cumin and fennel seeds (this is not absolutely necessary, but it will make a big difference so try and get them if you can.)
  • A teaspoon of grated ginger
  • Two cloves of garlic, crushed
  • A big handful of frozen peas
  • A handful of chopped coriander 
  • A cup of quinoa
Okay, what to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees celsius. In a large pot, brown the lamb in olive oil and set aside. 

2. Add the onion to the pot and cook gently for about 3 minutes. Add the spices, the ginger and the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more. Add splashes of water/olive oil to prevent anything from sticking. Add the lamb back to the spices and cook for 1 minute more. 

3. Add the tomatoes, the apricots, the chicken stock and a large glass of water. Bring to the boil, take the pot off the hob and place in the oven, with the lid on. Cook for 4 hours. I know this seems very long but the meat will be ridiculously tender once you have done this. If you want, you can even do this in the morning on your way to work. Put the oven at 100 degrees celsius and leave it in the whole day. 

4. With about an hour until service, take the pot out the oven, place on a gentle heat on the hob and remove the lid. Cook for 30 minutes and then add the quinoa. When the quinoa is ready (about 30 minutes, depending on the heat of the hob) add the frozen peas. Serve in deep bowls and garnish with coriander. 

This is another slow-cooking dish but I just can't help but be drawn to this style of cooking when winter sets in. I find it so easy - once everything is prepped, you can basically just forget about it for hours. It is also a well-known fact that curries taste better the next day so if you're planning a dinner party cook this the day before, chuck it in the fridge and then re-heat it for the party. The flavours will have intensified and the meal will be a show-stopper. Plus, you can concentrate on the more important things when guests arrive. Like...how long until we can do the worm?

Jamie Who

Monday, June 22, 2009

This is called "Twitter"

So peeps, I'm not too sure how many of you will know this but a few months ago there was this innovative product brought out that people absolutely loved. It was called "Facebook" and allowed people to build a social network online. Did you ever hear about it? It was fairy low-key and only those in the know got hold of it but let me tell you, it was pretty radical. You should check it out. Anyhoo...there is now a new craze called "Twitter". People seem to dig this vibe too so in my efforts to stay cutting edge while continuing to amaze and inspire I have signed up and you can now follow me. Check out the link on the right hand side of the page. Cute bird. Would look good roasted in some red wine, porcini mushrooms and made into a pie. Jooookes man. Not really.

So check it out guys, the technological revolution continues.

Jamie Who

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Foodbarn Deli/Manuka wine pairing

There are sooooooooooooooo many winter specials on at the moment it's a joke - it seems every restaurant is trying something to get you to brave the cold and make a turn past their spot. Some of them do stand out however, and, as your physical and spiritual leader, it's my job to let you know about them.

Now, I love Noordhoek. Specifically I love Noordhoek Vilage. With The Foodbarn, The Foodbarn Deli, Cafe Roux and The Toad there are restaurants to meet any budget and taste. There is a lawn to let your dog loose, a couple of art galleries and Manuka wine store. The whole vibe is pretty awesome and I visit as often as I can. So when I heard about The Foodbarn Deli teaming up with Manuka and De Noordhoek Hotel (did I not mention there was a quaint little hotel there?) to offer an evening of wine tasting paired with delicious food, I was more than intrigued. The hook for me was that after wining and dining you can stroll across to the hotel and stay the night. Even breakfast is included. How much? R450 per person. Someone call the cops please because that, my lovelies, is a steal.

The menu includes a mixed mushroom tart, lamb shanks or a vegetarian lasagna, malva pudding, florentines and more. If you don't want to stay the night in the hotel the food and wine pairing is R225. For more information get hold of them on (021) 789-1966.

Jamie Who

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hudsons Burger Joint

I was lying in bed last night practicing ab crunches and thinking of you guys when I had a thought - it's not fair that there is only one of me. I mean, how am I supposed to visit the restaurants of Cape Town (and hopefully the rest of SA at some stage) and report back to you on them when the simple fact is there are too many. We are spoilt for choice.
Now, I know you guys come here to stay ahead of the game. You want to know which restaurants are cool, where the best deals are and what is breaking news in the food scene. So, with this in mind, I have decided to start a "fresh out the oven" category. Basically this will allow me to keep you guys informed as stuff happens, as opposed to me having to visit a place and then write it up. (I will still do this by the way)

Today is the first story to fall into that category and arrives in the form of a spanking new venue in Kloof Street. David Raad, the man behind the famous Caprice in Camp's Bay, has launched Hudsons Burger Joint. Their plan is to serve the best burgers in town in a funky setting, and with whole-grain meat, sourdough rolls, vanilla lemonade and killer decor they are off to a good start. The have looked to New York eateries for inspiration in terms of the layout and design and the actual burgers are made in-house every morning. They claim to have less than 5% fat and they offer a chickpea and lentil veggie burger too. Are they the best in Cape Town? Time will tell. If you've already checked them out let me know what you think in the comments section, or drop me a mail on jamiewhoblog@gmail.com

Get hold of them on 079 8777 688.

Jamie Who

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Genot - Take a drive

We took a trip out to Franschoek to enjoy a chilled Sunday lunch at Genot, the sister restaurant of the highly-rated Overture at Hidden Valley. Positioned in the beautiful surroundings of the Klein Genot Wine farm, the restaurant offers stunning views of the surrounding winelands, a feature wall made up of chopped timber, striking wallpaper and glamourous chandeliers. It is a brilliant combination of chic with rustic touches and the end result is an awesome venue. The kitchen is modern and open plan allowing guests to watch the action as dishes are created.

Let's just rewind a bit to our arrival though. Absolutely pouring with rain, we were forced to sprint 50m (about 5 and a half seconds for me...) and were left drenched as we entered the place. What makes good restaurants brilliant restaurants is the attention to detail and I feel they have missed an opportunity here to have staff welcoming guests with umbrellas.

On to the reason we were there. The menu seemed to involve a lot of Asian influences, mixed with true South African dishes. Things like Springbok bobotie sit happily alongside braised pork-neck with ginger and carrot salad. Our table's starters included steamed mussels with cumin, tomato and basil (Brilliant. Simple, clean flavours), an incredible sweet potato gnocchi with pecorino foam and a coconut-milk soup with prawns and chicken. For mains, I had the pork-neck which was outstanding. Others went for the fillet with a roasted tomato bearnaise sauce, a lamb and waterblommetjie bredie and the grilled sirloin with field mushrooms. All of them were perfect. To finish things off, there was a warm brandy pudding and a vanilla-pod creme brulee with roasted quince and an almond koeksister. The flavours in both desserts were perfectly balanced and both were a great end to the meal.

The wine (Klein Genot Shiraz) flowed pretty steadily and was one of the better wines I've had for a while. In fact, it was so good we bought a couple of cases from the wine cellar downstairs!

This place is worth the drive. It is great value-for-money and with Mark Radnay (formerly of Yum fame) at the helm, I expect to hear lots more from it in the future.

Get hold of them on (021) 876-2738

Jamie Who

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spinach fettucine with lamb ragout and chantarelle mushrooms

I once heard a chef saying when you make a pasta the pasta should be the hero of the dish, not the sauce. I love that school of thought so I always look to buy the best quality pasta. It is amazing what a difference it makes. The more expensive pasta is imported and is made with old, traditional copper machinery that leaves tiny ridges and indentations on the pasta. This allows the sauce to stick to it and flavour it properly. Pasta that is made in modern factories gets churned out through pipes and is smooth as a result so the sauce can't coat the pasta as well. Not just a (very) pretty face here at Jamie Who. 

So with that in mind I went hunting for some high-quality pasta for a dinner I was making on Saturday. I found some spinach fettucine which I thought sounded interesting and would look amazing on a plate. It did. I used lamb on the bone and shredded it later which gives better flavour. It is a mission though, so if you want to just buy cubes of stewing lamb. 

Stuff you'll need to feed four people:
  • About 750g of stewing lamb
  • A handful of carrots, finely chopped
  • A handful of leeks, finely chopped
  • A handful of celery, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • One chilli, finely chopped
  • 450g pasta of your choice
  • 2 packs of dried chantarelle mushrooms (use any mushroom you like here)
  • A handful of chopped chervil (or flat-leaf parsley)
  • Pecorino cheese
Okay, what to do:

1. Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes. In a large, deep dish add some olive oil and brown the lamb. Once it has some good colour, remove and set aside. 

2. Gently fry the celery, carrot and leeks for a few minutes. Add the garlic, the chilli and the lamb and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes and about 4 cups of the water that the mushrooms were soaking in. Add the mushrooms. 

3. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat way down and let it simmer for about 2 hours or until the sauce has reduced to a thick, rich consistency. If you are cooking lamb on the bone, remove, allow to cool, shred meat and add back into sauce.

4. When you are ready, cook the pasta in salted boiling water and drain. Now, I like to add the sauce to the pasta slowly, stirring it in as I go until I'm happy with the amount of sauce compared to the pasta. When you get the right vibe, add the chopped chervil and place in deep bowls. Garnish with pecorino cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler. 

Now, "they" say you should use short pasta like penne or fusilli for a meaty sauce and longer pasta like linguine or tagliatelle for a smoother, elegant sauce. I think you should just use what feels right and what will look good on a plate. As I said earlier, if you buy the expensive pasta, it should all taste pretty good. 

Jamie Who

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bihari (Newlands) - kids dig it

The Silver Bear and The Dragon touched down from JHB on Friday, which meant I spent this weekend eating for the A team. We didn't feel like anything too hectic on Friday so we popped in to Bihari in Newlands. The space (next to The Southern Sun hotel on Main Road) has seen a couple of restaurants come and go but the place was packed so hopefully this is here to stay.

The staff are pretty cool here and after talking cricket with the manager and politics with the barman I was taken through the masses of kids to our table. Now, I'm no snob but there is something about going to have a good dinner and being swarmed with children that irritates me. I know I might piss some people off by saying this but children running around, screaming and bumping your chair has the potential to ruin dinner for me. There is a reason I didn't go to Spur on Friday and unfortunately that is exactly what it felt like. Anyway, let's not get too worked up about things - two glasses of Boschendal Shiraz (good but not WOW!) and all was forgotten.

The food. We were a table of four and got a mixed platter for two to share. This was more than enough and the samoosas, chicken tikka and lamb kebabs served with mint yoghurt and poppadoms were all delicious. For mains, I had the prawn korma which was awesome - plump, decent-sized prawns and plenty of them. There was also a lamb rogan josh and a chicken kasoori which was the tastiest meal of the lot. Unfortunately, the lamb korma was a shocker. Tough lamb and a pretty uninspired sauce that didn't even compare to the prawn version.

Dessert was...weird. We ordered a pistachio kulfi which the waitor suggested. He said it was like ice-cream. It wasn't. Instead, it was a strange texture that left my palette feeling confused. It was like hardened condensed milk. I tried to tell my brain it was ice-cream but I just couldn't enjoy it. The four of us shared one little blob of the stuff and we couldn't even finish it.

All in all, the food here is worth going for. The service is top-notch but don't go for a romantic dinner or if you feel like unwinding.
Get hold of them on (021) 674-7186

Jamie Who

Friday, June 12, 2009

Banana and pistachio oat muffins

By now we should all know how much I enjoy breakfast! With these muffins you're really ticking all the boxes for a good start to the day. You've got a fruit serving, hardly any calories (about 90 per muffin), some fibre and a good hit of protein from the nuts and extra peanut butter (I'm a crunchy guy but if you dig smooth who am I to judge?). Make these the night before if you want - it might seem like a mission but it really doesn't take long at all. That way you can have a proper lie-in the next day and just grab one before you head out.

Okay, what you'll need to make 6 muffins:
  • Three quarters of a cup of whole wheat flour
  • Three quarters of a cup of oats
  • One teaspoon of baking powder
  • One teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Half a teaspoon of baking soda
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A third of a cup of honey
  • Two egg whites
  • Two bananas, mashed
  • A quarter of a cup of fat-free milk
  • Half a cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • A handful or two of chopped pistachios

Okay, what to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.

2. In a separate bowl mix the honey, the applesauce, the egg whites, the bananas, the nuts and the milk. Add the dry ingredients and work them in.

3. Grease muffin tins and fill them two-thirds of the way. Sprinkle a few extra pistachios on the top.

4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until done.

Now, I had mine this morning with some fresh banana and a good smear of organic peanut butter and let me tell you...I am looking and feeling gooooooooood. You can too kids.


Jamie Who

Harissa kingklip with olives, caperberries and cherry tomatoes

This recipe is so ridiculously easy I'm almost embarrassed to put it up here. That said, there are always those nights when you are stuck for time and need something really quick. This can be done from start to finish in 25 minutes, it still looks good on a plate and it is super-healthy. The recipe uses harissa paste which I absolutely love. Harissa has North African origins and is basically smoked chilli peppers, garlic, cumin and olive oil all blended together. If you can't find it or you don't like one of these ingredients use something like a sundried-tomato paste. The flavours are pretty intense so be a bit careful with it. Also, you don't want to add any salt to the dish. The olives and caperberries will take care of that.

Okay, what you'll need to feed 2 people:
  • Two firm, white fish fillets about 2oog each (Kingklip is ideal)
  • About 3 tablespoons of harissa paste
  • A good handful of caperberries (use normal capers if you have to)
  • A good handful of olives, stoned and torn in half
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • About 150g of cherry tomatoes
Okay, what to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. In a baking tray, place the fish and rub with the harissa paste. Place the caperberries and olives on and around the fish, drizzle with olive oil, season with black pepper and cover with tinfoil.

2. Bake for 5 minutes, remove the tinfoil and add the tomatoes. Bake for a further 15 minutes or until the fish is just cooked. 

3. To serve, place the fish on a plate and pour over some of the juices, the olives, the caperberries and the tomatoes. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice. 

This dish has strong flavours and works best with something simple like a rocket salad or some steamed asparagus/brocolli. Your body will love you for this one. 

Jamie Who 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thyme-roasted chicken with lemon, garlic and organic vegetables

The cool thing about roast chicken is that everyone can make it and everyone thinks their version is the best. For me it's all about taking little ideas from each and playing around with flavours, timing, cooking technique etc. until you end up with your ultimate.  I must be honest, The Princess comes pretty close to the best I've had with her version.  Here is mine. 

Stuff you'll need to feed 4 people:
  • One organic chicken, trimmed and cleaned
  • A bunch of thyme
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • One large lemon, quartered
  • One head of garlic plus about 4 or 5 extra cloves for the vegetables
  • Olive oil
  • One large butternut, quartered lengthways
  • About 6 courgettes, cut in half lengthways
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • About 5 patty pans cut in half
Okay, what to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Rub the chicken with olive oil and thyme and season generously.

2. Stuff the chicken's cavity (its bum) with the lemon and the entire head of garlic. Tie the legs with with string to secure.

3.  On a large, deep baking sheet arrange the vegetables so that they fit snugly around the chicken. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables and season well. Place whole garlic cloves in between vegetables. 

4. Cover the chicken with tin foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. After 3o minutes, remove tinfoil and cook for about 25 minutes or until done. To test, check the colour of the liquid coming off the chicken. When it runs clear, it is done. 

5. To serve, remove the garlic and lemon from the chicken and squeeze out the roasted garlic. Mix it with some of the lemon juice and pour over the carved chicken and vegetables. 

What makes the chicken, for me, is the vegetables you serve it with. This is definitely a case of getting the best organic produce you can find. It might cost a bit more but is totally worth it in this recipe. Cooking it like I have above puts more of an emphasis on keeping the meat moist, rather than browning the skin. I do this because I don't actually eat the skin. "BUT IT'S THE BEST PART JAMIE. IT'S THE BEST PART!! IT'S SO AWESOME." I know. Do you know what else is awesome? Not being fat. 

Jamie Who

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thai-style salmon fish cakes with dipping sauce and sweet potato crisps

Aaah, salmon. Bless you. High in Vitamin D, selenium, omega 3, vitamin B and protein and still low in calories...

So I had two salmon fillets left in my freezer that I bought from Jerome the fish guy and figured fish cakes would be a perfect way to use them up. The beauty of this recipe is that tinned salmon works absolutely fine. I use sweet potato instead of potato as a binding agent and I save the peeled skins. Chuck these in an oven with some olive oil, thyme and paprika on a low temp (about 100 degrees celsius) and gently roast them until they are crispy. It's a nice touch. 

Okay, stuff you'll need to make six fish-cakes:
  • Three sweet potatoes or two large sweet potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • About 450g of salmon, cooked and flaked. (or out of a tin, drained) 
  • A handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • A handful of spring onion, finely chopped
  • One red chilli, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • A dash of fish oil
  • One egg
  • Breadcrumbs
For the dipping sauce:
  • About 100ml of light soy sauce
  • A dash of fish oil
  • One red chilli, sliced diagonally
  • A dash of sesame oil
  • A dash of honey
  • A tablespoon of coriander, roughly chopped
  • A tablespoon of spring onion, roughly chopped
What to do:

1. Combine all the ingredients for the fish cakes in a large bowl and shape into appropriate disks. 

2. Break the egg into a shallow dish and lightly whisk. Dip the fish cakes into the egg and then cover in breadcrumbs. 

3. Gently fry the fish cakes until lightly browned. 

4. To serve, combine all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl and place alongside. At the last minute give the fish cakes a squeeze of lime juice.

These can be quite delicate so it's a good idea to put them in the fridge for about half an hour before you fry them. You can also make them a bit smaller and serve as snacks at a cocktail party. Beats the sh*t out of sausages on a stick.  

Jamie Who

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Foodie Blogroll

So a few weeks ago I stumbled upon these guys called the Foodie Blogroll. There are literally millions of bloggers out there and what these guys do is to select the food blogs they enjoy and list them all in a membership/forum kind of style. I was stoked to be accepted and you'll notice a link on the right hand side of my page. This is a pretty cool way of allowing you guys (and me) to tap into the food blogs all over the world that are actually worthwhile. Look, they're not Jamie Who but they do offer different vibes and with food you can never stop learning and getting new ideas so get involved.

Now, I'm not the jealous type but just remember who loves you the most. Always come back here...Jamie loves you.

Jamie Who

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bizerca Bistro - My new favourite?

Myself, The Princess and Long Distance went to Bizerca Bistro last night. I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't been there before...From the second you walk in the vibe in this place is warm and inviting. The staff are out of the top drawer - friendly, funky and knowledgeable.

After a quick drink at the stylish, minimalistic black and white bar we were brought a blackboard with the daily specials, as well as a menu with the restaurant's permanent signature dishes. I can honestly say it has been a long time since so many options have jumped out at me from a menu. The style of food is simple, bistro dishes which are dressed up to take them to another level. The unpretentious food is a reflection of the chef and the staff and the flavours are phen-om-en-al. I went for quail as a starter (R68), served on celeriac puree and followed it up with braised beef cheek and gnocchi(R135). To finish it off I ordered the apple tart fine (R45)which the menu states you should allow 30 minutes for. I was happy to do this and the wait was justified as I watched the homemade ice cream melt on out-of-the-oven fresh pastry.

Other highlights at the table included a martini glass full of beef tartare and potato gaufrettes(R60), a mussel and shellfish bisque (R55) and a lamb ragout (R125) which was sensational. The only disappointment was a chicken dish which was a bit dry and bland. We chose Dornier Merlot to wash it down, which was delicious and well priced. All in all, with food on par with the best in Cape Town, the prices are well below the competition. I will be back. Soon.

Jamie Who

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pomegranate chicken with chilli and coriander couscous, served with grapefruit yoghurt

With pomegranates being in season, I went a bit crazy last week and bought five. So, last night I decided to try something a bit experimental with them. I know the flavours sound strange but there is a traditional Persian dish very similar to this that is duck and pomegranates. I used chicken instead and honestly found the flavours phenomenal. I'm lucky because I have a manual juicer - getting the juice from pomegranates would have been be a massive hack otherwise. That said, you could just buy 100& pomegranate juice and that would be hundreds. 

The sweet and sour balance is important here so just keep tasting. The end result is similar to a curry in the sense that there are so many layers. Each ingredient comes through and visually it is hard to beat. 

Okay, stuff you'll need to feed 4 people:
  • About 8oog of skinless chicken thighs (use breasts if you have to but thighs are far tastier)
  • 5 pomegranates, juiced and seeds set aside. (otherwise about 250-300ml pomegranate juice)
  • 1 cup of cashews, crushed
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • About a teaspoon of cinnamon 
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fat-free plain yoghurt
  • 4 cups of prepared couscous (Follow instructions on packet. If you mess this up, you should give up all hope immediately) 
  • Half a grapefruit, juiced
  • A good handful of coriander, roughly chopped and extra for garnish
  • One red chilli, sliced diagonally
What to do:

1. In a deep dish, brown the chicken in some oil. Remove and set aside. 

2. Add the onions and gently fry until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the cashews and cook for another minute. Add the honey, pomegranate juice, lemon juice and cinnamon. Add the chicken and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to a beautiful sticky consistency. 

3. When the chicken is tender and the sauce tastes right to you, combine the yoghurt and the grapefruit juice. Stir the coriander and chilli through the couscous. 

4. To serve, spoon the couscous onto plates or wide bowls. Place some of the chicken on top and pour over some of the pomegranate sauce over. Carefully spoon some of the grapefruit yoghurt over the top and finally add some pomegranate seeds and some extra coriander. 

It's a brilliant dish and is a bit of a talking point owing to the fact that it's a bit unusual. You'll never know until you try. Did I mention how good it is for you? 

Jamie Who

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nguni - Ngoodie

I was editing some of my pics the other day and realised I had forgotten to write up a few of the restaurants I visited on my recent trip to Plett. One that really stands out for me is Nguni. As the name suggests, the beef is amazing but chefs Jacquie and Natalie (formally from The Plettenberg) also produce some genius, quirky touches such as bobotie springrolls and chicken bunny chow with homemade chutney. The space itself is entirely black and white which transforms a tiny old room into a chic farmhouse with beautiful African touches. The winelist has some of the better-known farms and good descriptions of what you can expect from each. For Plett regulars, it is worth mentioning that Nguni is the brainchild of Sue Ovenstone, who runs the legendary Old House Shop. Her style and unique tastes have spilled over into the restaurant and the end result is gorgeous. There are only two waitors for the entire place but you never feel neglected. Quite the opposite actually. 

For lunch there is a lighter menu which changes daily but expect things like quinoa salad with mozzarella and chickpeas or fresh salmon with lemon, mirin and capers. Grab a table on their porch in the sunny courtyard and kick back. If you're not having a good time, it is probably your fault, not theirs. 

For more info check out their (very stylish) site at www.nguni-restaurant.co.za

Jamie Who

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yuppiechef - who me?

The Good Food and Wine show at the CTICC that I recently wrote about was a bit disappointing to be honest. Lots of stands that were very similar and way, way too many people. In my opinion they should limit ticket numbers and give people allocated time slots. Half the fun of these festivals is to talk to the various exhibitors and get to know both them and their products and the crowds on Sunday made this impossible.

One standout for me though was the Yuppiechef stand. Yuppiechef is an online food shopping experience that has taken the coolest kitchen/cooking brands and put them all on one site where you can browse and buy. Their products are all a bit edgy and funky but still offer amazing performance. The site is perfect for finding presents and the delivery process is super-easy. Recent purchases by yours truly include the very cool "bunny" salt and pepper grinders and rubber ties to secure meats when roasting/stuffing.

Jamie Who

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wijnhuis (Newlands) - Mr. Consistent

Here's a restuarant that opened 8 years ago and is still going strong, which should tell you something. A simple, uncomplicated style of food is matched by unbelievable service in a beautiful setting, with three levels and views of Table Mountain. Depending on your mood you can take a seat in the (very underrated) bar area, chill in the library at the back of the restaurant, grab a table overlooking the 'burbs to do a bit of people-watching or sit amongst the wines in the upstairs cellar.

Prices are steep, it must be said, but portions are above average and quality is exremely consistent. So it's a case of asking yourself if you're willing to pay R120 for a seafood pasta packed with fresh clams and linefish or if you would rather pay R80 down the road and get some recycled marinara sauce. The beef tagliata (sirloin strips, flash-fried and served rare) with chilli, garlic and olive oil (R115) is a personal favourite and the penne arrabiata (R95) is also a winner. Also, watch out for little "freebies" that they like to throw in. In winter, they will often bring you a decent portion of their soup of the day for a taste and in summer homemade nougat and ice-cream or fresh watermelon is brought with the bill. These little touches, along with piping-hot homemade bread on the tables, make a big difference in my opinion.

As you would expect, their wine list is top-notch with some big names sitting comfortably alongside boutique estates. There are plenty of options available by the glass.

It's a good spot, aimed at locals and businessmen. They have lots of regulars which is always a good sign. Check it out.
Jamie Who